30 June 2005: for immediate release

Former Iraq weapons inspector Scott Ritter is to address the “Fight Poverty not War” rally at 4.30pm at the anti-war stage in the East Meadows during the Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh. Ritter will be addressing two of the key issues being discussed at the meeting of the 8 richest nations, poverty and proliferation. He will be joined by key peace and anti-war speakers, including CND Chair Kate Hudson, Vice-President Bruce Kent, Lindsey German, Rose Gentle, George Galloway MP, George Monbiot and Caroline Lucas MEP who will be making the case that war creates poverty and poverty creates war.

The rally, which has been organised by the Stop the War Coalition and CND, is one of a number of activities around the G8 summit to draw attention to the links between militarism and the G8’s destructive economic policies, and the connections between war and poverty. Scott Ritter, Kate Hudson, Bruce Kent, Caroline Lucas MEP and Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition), will also be speaking on these issues at the G8 Alternatives summit on Sunday 3rd July.

On Sunday evening the spotlight will by put on the horrific reality of US and UK foreign policy and those who are dying in the ongoing occupation of Iraq with a ‘Naming the Dead’ ceremony on Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

On Monday 4th July, CND, Scottish CND and Trident Ploughshares are jointly organising a blockade of the Faslane nuclear base in Scotland. Thousands of people, including MSPs, MEPs, and church leaders will risk arrest at what is expected to be the biggest anti-militarist direct action in the UK for generations.

Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament,

“ Every year £1.5 billion is spent on the UK’s Trident nuclear weapons system. The government is likely to announce a replacement for Trident in the near future, which will cost over £10 billion. Spending on weapons of mass destruction must stop. Instead of pursuing policies of war, our government must cut arms budgets. It must end support for neo-liberal economic policies that create poverty worldwide. It must support peace and economic justice, not create poverty and war.”

Caroline Lucas, MEP and member of CND national council will be speaking at the G8 Alternatives conference on Sunday 3rd. She will also be risking arrest, along with thousands of others at the blockade of Faslane nuclear naval base on Monday 4th July. She said,

“If G8 leaders are serious about tackling hardship in the developing world, they must take seriously the link between nuclear weapons, militarism and poverty. Military expenditure and nuclear research not only diverts funds from educational, healthcare and social welfare programmes, it also defines bilateral relationships between nations and provides the means for the world’s many conflicts, which represent the greatest cause of extreme poverty and threat to sustainable development.”

Bruce Kent who will also be risking arrest at the blockade said,

“The G8 meeting is an enormous opportunity to take practical steps to end world poverty. But we can’t ignore the trillion dollars a year the world spends on its military. Cutting this budget is an essential part of ending poverty.”


Notes to Editor:

1. For further information and interviews please contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859

2. For information and interviews re: The anti-war stage contact Ruth Tanner CND’s Press & Communications Officer on 07968 420859 or Andrew Burgin, Stop the War on 07939242229

3. Scott Ritter will be available for interview on Saturday 2nd July and Sunday 3rd July – Please contact Jan Burgess on 0781 492-9080.

4. Fight Poverty not War actions and events during the G8
“Fight Poverty not War” rally at 4.30pm Saturday 2nd July
The anti-war stage in the East Meadows during the Make Poverty History demonstration.
There will be opportunities to interview speakers including Scott Ritter, Kate Hudson, Lindsey German, and Bruce Kent from 4.30pm.

G8 Alternatives conference, Sunday 3rd July
‘ Desperately seeking WMDs: Militarism and Nuclearism’ Plenary Session, 4.45pm, George Square Theatre, Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh – Speakers: Kate Hudson, Scott Ritter, Tommy Sheridan, Caroline Lucas and Bruce Kent

CND workshop – ‘Fight Poverty not War’: 2.30 to 4.15pm Paterson’s Land, G21
Speakers: Bruce Kent, Lindsey German (STWC), Kate Hudson, Dominick Jenkins (Greenpeace), War On Want, Le Mouvement de la Paix

Naming the Dead Ceremony – from 6pm Sunday 3rd July
Assemble 6pm corner of Prince’s Street/The Mound to march through Edinburgh to Calton Hill for the naming ceremony.

Faslane Blockade, Monday 4th July
Press contacts for the blockade
Joss Garman, Trident Ploughshares tel: 07815 004 578 or email joss@tridentploughshares.org
Ruth Tanner, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) tel: 07968 420859 or email pressoffice@cnduk.org

5. Scott Ritter – Background information
Scott Ritter was one of UNSCOM’s most senior weapons inspectors in Iraq between 1991 and 1998, after having served for eight years as an intelligence officer in the US Marine Corps. He provided analysis of Iraq’s missile capacity to General Schwarzkopf in the 1991 Gulf War. He resigned from UNSCOM in 1998, Since leaving UNSCOM, Ritter, despite describing himself as a ‘card-carrying republican’ has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s foreign policy. He took on the entire political and media establishment of the US virtually single-handed in the run-up the 2003 Iraq war in persistently maintaining that Iraq did not pose a serious WMD threat Ritter has been the subject of various disinformation campaigns, which reached a climax in late 2002 when he flew to Baghdad and persuaded the Iraqi government to allow the unconditional return of inspectors in an attempt to avert the coming war. The war went ahead anyway. Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer-Prize winning New Yorker journalist said of Ritter “the most important thing to know about Ritter, the man, is that he was right”.

6. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 32,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.